12 Days of Christmas or the 12 Scams of Christmas!

Scams, Deals and Cybercriminals

Christmas is quickly creeping up and the goose is getting fat! People are finally getting round to doing their Christmas shopping. Is it any wonder in today’s busy society that some people skip the long queues and busy shopping centres to enjoy the wonders of online shopping?

Before lunging into the world of online shopping however, take a seat and be advised about this year’s hot scams. Shopping online now means your opening the door to cybercriminals. In last year alone people spent in excess of forty million pounds online, so with an incentive like that on offer this Christmas for some people it simplyis not the season of goodwill! McAfee releases their top rated scams to avoid this year.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a free Ipad? With the Ipad being one of the top gifts this Christmas, sometimes the price tag really is too good to be true. Apple themselves have already had to deal with this scam which involves a con person asking people to sign up to buy another product, and then as a free gift they will receive a Ipad. They have to provide personal details as well as credit card details thus providing the cybercriminal with the tools he or she needs to scam you out of your hard earned cash. This has been targeted particularly at those using social media sites where the person is asked to fill in an online questionnaire and provide their mobile phone number. In providing such details they sign themselves up for a £10-£15 a week bogus service.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, “Help! I am stranded?” this one is specifically targeted at those travelling this Christmas. A user’s social networking site is infiltrated and a message sent out to family members, friends and contacts saying that this person is stranded, in distress and more importantly in need of money. This is of course a lie any money you send will go direct to the criminal, however it is advised that you do actually check with the person should you receive this just to be sure!

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a gift card? Seems pretty ordinary however, another top scam this Christmas is going to be fake gift cards. They use once again your social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter to advertise gift cards but then they use this to gain your personal ID’s, Password and eventually can go as far as getting your bank details. This is one to watch as this is active and being used right now.It has had to be dealt with and solved out by many establishments already unfortunately.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, seasonal job offer? You need the extra money this Christmas? Well so do cybercriminals! Advertisements for high paying jobs, hours to suit you, working from home etc however, these require personal details as well as your national insurance number etc. Avoid these advertisements at all costs unless you are certain this is true and genuine such as through government sites such as Jobcentre.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, “smishing” commonly known as phishing; however this is done through SMS and is all the rage with the younger generation. They receive a text telling them their account has missing details or that there is something wrong so they need to call to provide such details. Unfortunately you are the targeted victim and you unknowingly provide the cybercriminal with all the finer details they need to rip you off.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, Christmas Cabins? The scam being that they ask for you to put a deposit on a cabin in the hope that it will tickle your fancy and you will actually take to the idea of Christmas in a Cabin thus further providing your details and allowing them to scam you taking away any dreams of your Christmas spent in a Cabin.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, loans with small interest fees? With us being in the recession, some people need a loan this Christmas for whatever reason the con man or woman offers interest free loans for a “small” charge. However cards are never sent and the loans never materialize - they are non-existent. If it seems too good to be true then it probably is so walk away! Yes that’s right back away!

On the eight day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a cheerful E-Card? No possibly not so cheerful when it contains malware, viruses and malicious links! Cybercriminals are very good at appearing as someone else, hacking into your Facebook for instance and sending such E-Cards to your contact list so it appears to have come from you is yet another thing to look out for.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, unbelievable great deals! Once again that new TV you wanted for dad, No! Stop and think! There is a reason why there is £300 off the price tag! Deals offering dramatic price drops on products are more than likely scams. The Cybercriminal gets all your details, credit card details and processes this through only to find that your new TV never arrives.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, donations to those less fortunate this Christmas. Yes it is true cybercriminals have stooped to a whole lower level. Targeting those who this Christmas, have a place in their heart for charity. They call asking for donations to charities that seem like a worthy cause and pull on those heartstrings however it is a scam. Our advice – if you want to donate this year do it directly to the charity but watch out for incorrect spellings on the URL as this is something that cybercriminals have also started to do.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, check out my new Christmas wallpaper and screensaver? Or rather check that your anti-virus is up to date! These seasonal celebrations are targets for malicious viruses and malware. If you think you know who it is from still check any attachments thoroughly and carefully before you download.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, Wi-Fi connectivity! Hanging about this year waiting for your train, or plane be careful what Wi-Fi you connect to. These are not the most secure however; hotspot login areas are hotspots for our cybercriminal too! They hang around having tapped into these and they just sit and wait for personal details, credit card details etc so use your common sense before you carry out online transactions and even if it takes an extra two minutes always preview a web address before clicking on it.

On a final note be aware and just double check some of these simple things. Use your common sense and if it seems too good to be true then it more than likely is! Don't get caught out and brought into the underword of cybercriminals this Christmas.

Posted in Blog on